At first, Laura and J. C. have this appealing animosity toward one another when they can't seem to acknowledge that they're attracted, or even interested in one another. I couldn't stop laughing as the town worked themselves into a frenzy over sightings of this pair together. Even funnier is Laura and J. C.'s reaction to all the attention they receive when they both deny that there's any reason for it. Their banter is so cute and unassuming, yet, you can feel that undeniable spark that they're trying to ignore.
Although the humor surrounding this couple's predicament of sorting out their feelings for one another, while in view of the meddlers of Serenity who are onto their every move, kicks off the story, this novel takes a serious turn when the student being bullied retreats into a world of shame. Can the town offset this terrible situation without striking back and becoming bullies themselves?
CATCHING FIREFLIES has such a wide spectrum of emotion that you can't help but feel like you've lived it. On one hand, this couple's repartee as they get to know one another is amusingly cute. Then you have the much more serious and often emotional part of the plot focused on bullying. The scope in which bullying is brought to the forefront pushes the romance to the background for a while, but it leads this couple to where they need to be emotionally, so that their love might fully develop.
In looking back, it seems as if it would be impossible to blend the light and cute aspect of this couple's growing affection for one another with how serious the bullying situation becomes. But, it does work well and still includes a very satisfying happy ever after.
If you've been following the SWEET MAGNOLIA series, CATCHING FIREFLIES is book nine. The eighth book, MIDNIGHT PROMISES, and CATCHING FIREFLIES are part of a trilogy that includes WHERE AZALEAS BLOOM, book ten, available in September 2012. Knowing the characters from previous books gives the reader a better appreciation in some of the situations, but you won't feel lost if you haven't read any of the series prior to CATCHING FIREFLIES.
I love books that teach lessons, plus provoke thought and discussion, based on the real-life problems that the novel brings to life, and CATCHING FIREFLIES does that beautifully. I must admit that I didn't expect a serious subject to be explored so fully within a book that began with such great humor. But, I think the unexpected often makes a great book. CATCHING FIREFLIES is memorable for more than one reason and brings you full circle from happy to sad to angry to happy again, feeling refreshed and renewed. A rousing good read perfect for a book discussion group, complete with ten questions to get you started.